MANSFIELD -- Mansfield City Council may soon tighten rules regarding the demolition of structures within the city.
On Tuesday, council amended a proposed ordinance, and then conducted a first reading on legislation that:
-- keeps the fees for a demolition permit at $80 per day for up to 14 days (instead of four) for residential demolition and 60 days for all other demolitions, unless otherwise allowed by the city.
-- would add an additional fee of $50 per day, from the current $10 per day, for a demolition permit that drags on beyond 14 days for a residential permit and 60 days for all other demolitions.
-- would require the contractor or resident-owner to "remove all lumber, rubble and other building structural materials and debris and all demolition equipment from the graded premises" before the demolition is considered complete.
Previously, the owner could seek city permission to keep the material piled "neatly upon the premises."
The city's codes and permits department enforces these ordinances.
Amendments to the proposed revisions of ordinances, first approved in 1976 and revised in 2013, came after questions and concerns were posed by 1st Ward Council member David Falquette and 6th Ward Council member Jean Taddie.
Falquette cited the demolition of a former South Trimble Road meat market after which "piles of rubble" were left behind. He said the penalties were so low that the contractor used the property "as a rental space for at least one large piece of demolition equipment," causing "much consternation" for residents in the area.
Taddie said she would "love to get as much rubble out of my neighborhood" as possible.
"It really feels like Sarajevo," she said, "with a number of poorly demolished buildings and literally rubble left standing.
Taddie cited a factory not far from her home she said had been partially demolished.
"It continues to run as a business with rubble fenced in by barbed wire to keep the neighbors out. ... How is it not required to have converted that area to green space? How does it pass (existing) code?" Taddie asked
Marc Milliron from the Codes and Permits Office said he could not provide an immediate answer to her specific question. Taddie said she would meet with him on the issue.
Council scheduled a second reading of the proposed changes on Aug. 20 and then a third reading and possible passage on Sept. 3.
In other action Tuesday, City Council:
-- authorized the city administration to seek a $500,000 Ohio Public Works grant to help fund the replacement of a 121-year-old sandstone bridge at North Lake Park. Engineer Bob Bianchi told council that the twin arches under the bridge are "flattening out" and becoming unsafe. Bianchi said the plan is to replace the bridge with a single-arch bridge that re-uses the sandstone from the current structure. The total cost for the project is estimated at $900,000, with $400,000 coming from the city's sewer fund. If the grant is approved, construction would not begin until the fall of 2020 and it would take nine months to complete, Bianchi said.
-- heard from several area residents about the need for a local senior citizens' center that allow them to gather to play bingo, cards and pool, as well as drink coffee and chat. Some of the same group made a similar request of Richland County commissioners on July 2. Mansfield Parks & Recreation Manager Mark Abrams said he would meet with members of the group to consider possible spaces available.
-- approved ordinances to appropriate $61,990.77 for a police cruiser damaged in an accident. Police Chief Keith Porch said the department plans to purchase a 2020 Chevy Tahoe 4x4 that will be used by supervisory personnel. It will replace a 2015 Ford Taurus that was destroyed in the accident that was not the officer's fault. The insurance company totaled the vehicle and is paying $12,315. That check will be returned to the city's unappropriated general fund, reducing the expenditure on the cop-package vehicle to $49,675.
-- watched Mayor Tim Theaker present downtown beautification awards to Dan Lew, owner of the Dan Lew Exchange, 28 N. Main St., and the congregation of First English Lutheran Church, 53 Park Ave. West, represented by Senior Pastor Paul Larson and other church leaders. Theaker said both sites were singled out for praise during a recent visit by America in Bloom judges.
-- voted to accept a $100 donation from Dan and Barb Tucker of Tucker Brothers Auto Wrecking for use by the Mansfield Fire Department Fire Prevention Bureau.
-- voted to accept a $200 donation from the Richland Area Chamber & Economic Development to be used by the city Parks & Recreation Dept.'s in purchasing a license for its Movies in the Park program.
-- voted to accept a $250 donation from the Kiwanis Club of Mansfield to be used by the city's Parks & Recreation Dept.'s Family Parties in the Park program.
-- voted to accept a donation of $29,427.75 from the OhioHealth Emergency Department for six chest compression systems, plus accessories, to be used by the Mansfield Fire Department. The total cost of the project is $92,706 and the fire department has also applied for funding from the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation.
-- voted to levy special assessments to homeowners in the Glenwood and Parkwood boulevard areas for sprinkling, mowing, sweeping and cleaning the glass plots or lawn strips in the middle of the boulevards. The work is done every three years.
-- voted to transfer $38,000 within the general fund for unspecified security enhancements in the finance and tax departments.
-- voted to increase the amount of petty cash maintained in the utility collections department.
-- voted to transfer $751 from the parks & recreation fund to cover the remaining balance of the Liberty Pool operations contract with the Mansfield Area Y. The pool is now closed for the season.
-- voted to authorize the city to seek bids and enter into a contract to purchase a water valve exercising trailer, with an estimated price tag of $60,000. The Ohio EPA has mandated the City of Mansfield implement a water valve exercising program, requiring the trailer purchase. The expense would come from the city's water fund.
-- voted to authorize the city to seek proposals and enter into another three-year contract for engineering and planning services related to the inspection of sewer lines using closed-circuit video equipment and other inflow and infiltration techniques.